America is a country that is big on the word brave.
We even like to fashion ourselves “The Home of the Brave,” and we frequently give everyone–from sports stars to cancer survivors–that honored label.
This is in spite of the fact that the only current way Americans would’ve earned the status of brave in centuries past is to fight tribesmen in the mountains of Afghanistan. That’s because it was primarily tied to martial skill and valor by our ancestors and very few Americans can actually say they have participated in situations where they exhibited those virtues.
But we live in a different age and the conception of bravery has changed to mean simply “being yourself”–as long as being yourself means conforming to politically correct thoughts on race, gender, and freedom of course.
Sure, we still call the soldiers who fight needlessly in far-away lands brave and the masculine conception of the ideal still lingers around in our society–but less than 1% of America’s population will have any chance of engaging in state-sanctioned martial valor.
Not like that will stop our society from appropriating the term and using it to let people congratulate themselves for existing as obedient drones.
We can see this when the residents–and former residents–of one of the largest cities in America describe themselves as “Boston Strong” just because one bomb went off in their city, which resulted in a lockdown of the entire metropolitan area to track down the most unintimidating terrorist in human history.
Thus enters in the new, feminine conception of bravery that celebrates the individual freeing themselves from the “shackles” of old norms and conforming to the West’s new morality.
And you can be brave while parking your ass on the couch and not having to lift a muscle – because you just have to be yourself!
The culture certainly reinforces this with a popular song by Sara Bareilles that only asks its listeners to be “Brave.”
Backed by a saccharine piano line and having the same effect on testosterone as a gallon of organic soy milk, Bareilles‘ conception of brave is not that of martial valor but that of existing as the last man. It’s easily read in the song’s lyrics that the “brave” theme is coming out of your closet to announce to the world that you are a freak and an outcast.
Here are some choice lines that solidify that impression:
You can be the outcast /
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love /
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do /
When they settle ‘neath your skin /
Kept on the inside and no sunlight /
Sometimes a shadow wins
Fallen for the fear /
And done some disappearing, /
Bow down to the mighty /
Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue
The video reinforces this theme by having fat schlubs and losers (like that inane “Happy video, which must constitute some type of trend) awkwardly dancing around in public places as an act of defiance against fascist cultural norms.
Watch for yourself:
There’s little wonder then that the songwriters behind this song intended it to be, in their words, a “a real civil rights anthem at a time when there are no civil rights anthems and there’s a giant need for civil rights anthems.”
Because there is always a need for more dogmatic songs instructing White Americans to break away from Tradition. And that’s what the song is ultimately about—breaking away from Tradition. That’s what it means when society tells you to be brave. Strike down the customs of your ancestors and embrace the existence of the Last Man. “You can be an outcast,” because we’re now all outcasts in the eyes of our ancestors.
And the purpose of this song is to further subvert the meaning of “brave” to suit the needs of a consumerist society that just wants to sit on its ass and eat Cheetos all day.
Bravery no longer has to mean real men fighting and dying in combat – it now means some obese fairy dancing around in a mall on his way to buying the complete series of “Sex and the City.”
The shame is that this song and other filth like it are played everywhere you might go. The bar, the grocery store, and even the gym (as gyms rarely play music for you to hit PRs with anymore) will all have Bareilles’ voice chanting for you to become the Last Man. It’s hard to create a revolutionary mindset within a culture that promotes such limp-wristed schmaltz.
That is why the creation of our own forms of culture is so important.
Culture conveys values and attitudes far more effectively than any kind of political sloganeering. Pursuing the creation of what you might call a “subculture” within North America that exists outside of the confines of mainstream society and reinforces the traditions and the values of our ancestors is just one way we can immunize ourselves from the culture of the Kali Yuga.
Otherwise, we can continue to watch as more words get redefined to mean something contemptible to us.